Transition And Making Space For Grief

noun: transition; plural noun: transitions
the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.
“students in transition from one program to another”
Today marks the first anniversary that my father made his transition from the world of the living to the ancestor realm. Never in a million years could I have imagined I would be here. And where is here- exactly? I’m not sure. However, I do know that death is imminent. We, survivors, have to continue to move forward while making space for grief. That’s, obviously, easier said than done. One year later. I am struggling to not cry every day, to write and to relish in joy when I feel it.
But on this day, my grief incapacitated me. My tears bound me to my bed leaving me unable to speak. Pain and sorrow welled up in my bosom suffocating me. The longing to hear my Daddy’s voice or feel his hugs made my belly ache. I cried so much but I believe my tears were on auto-pilot as I have been for the past month leading up to today. I knew this day was coming and I was trying to prepare for it. But could I ever REALLY prepare for it?  And just when I thought I was going to succumb to the myriad of emotions which depression and loss bring, I smelled my father’s essence. Just as I do now. Then, I heard him whisper to not cry.
And as I whispered, “I’m sorry, Daddy!”  He replayed my life with him and never had there been a moment where my Daddy hadn’t taught me a lesson.  He was not a perfect man by any means but he adored his daughters and he kept his promise to never leave us.
During this transition since his passing, my heart has softened and my rage has subsided. Oh, I’m still a muthafucka but instead of going 0 to 60 in 3 seconds; it may take 10. And that’s ok. Although therapy has helped a lot; I am aware that the nuggets of happiness, which I’ve experienced over the past several months, are gifts from my father. He has always gone out of his way to make sure we were protected. He has renewed many things in my life.
Daddy even spoke to us through my baby sister today. Normally, my phone is turned off during the day but today I left it on. She called me to see how I was holding up and we were feeling the same way. She told me some news which I know would have made Daddy proud. Hell, I was proud of her. And then she mentioned to me that she knew I hadn’t been able to write. She said, “Today is the day that YOU need to write. Daddy was so proud when he found out that you were a nationally published writer. You have to do it for him. TODAY.”
As promised, I am here after not touching this keyboard for over a month to honor our Mufasa. This sacred place held for making space for grief is now to venerate our Daddy’s life. Yes, life and not his memory. His memory concludes that he is never coming back and my Daddy has NEVER left my side.
Love you, Daddy! Always.
Ibae Tonu.

K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, bruja, Oni Yemaya, palera,  professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao”, Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist” and a freelance contributor for major publications like The Root, VSB, Huffington Post, My Brown Baby and The Glow Up.

​Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.